Times Dance Writer

American Ballet Theatre has presented a galaxy of star-crossed lovers in its newly acquired staging of "Romeo and Juliet." Sunday night at Shrine Auditorium it was Susan Jaffe's turn to shine, opposite the previously reviewed Kevin McKenzie.

Initially a kittenish Juliet, Jaffe turned strangely glamorous in the throes of true love--her mannered port de bras less an expression of feeling than a glossy symbol of it. When facing disaster, this Juliet turned curiously petulent--she lived and died a spoiled, beautiful, hopelessly shallow child.

Where technique alone could serve, it served Jaffe splendidly--she danced faultlessly, effortlessly, gorgeously. But all those exquisite wrist curlings proved no substitute for a deep, involving characterization; as that kind of Juliet, Jaffe is, right now, outclassed.

Except for Michael Owen as a watchful, understated Tybalt--with an interesting suggestion of shame at stabbing Mercutio in the back--the other principals Sunday night were familiar from earlier performances. Paul Connelly conducted.

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